HMRC takes over a year to wrap up almost a quarter of the 115,000 local tax compliance investigations open at any one time, a City law firm has said.
Lawyers RPC today released figures showing that HMRC’s local compliance unit had more than 115,000 investigations ongoing against individual taxpayers and businesses as of March this year.
Of that, close to 3,800 had dragged on for longer than three years.
Adam Craggs, head of RPC’s tax disputes team, said:
“Regardless of the outcome, those being investigated have to bear the burden of the costs associated with dealing with HMRC and this can entail substantial professional fees.”
An HMRC spokesman disputed the figures, saying the rate of cases that took longer than a year to resolve was only 2.5 per cent of the one million it deals with and said:
“We aim to resolve issues as quickly as possible. But where a case is complex, we will take whatever time is necessary to investigate and resolve it.”
HMRC collected £26.6bn from compliance work, it said. Chancellor George Osborne recently pledged a further £750m for tax gathering.